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Frank Heimes
on 5 April 2022

IBM has just unveiled its IBM z16 next-generation computing platform. As the latest product in the zSystems server family, IBM z16 delivers the outstanding performance and security that IBM mainframes are known for, while also bringing innovations in AI inferencing, hybrid cloud support, and quantum-safe cryptography.

Building on the long-standing partnership between IBM and Canonical, Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS (currently in beta) has been developed in parallel with IBM z16 to enable organisations to make the most of the new IBM platform from day one.

In order to utilise many of the new features available with IBM z16, operating system support is essential. Ubuntu 22.04 provides this support not only for the core system, but also across the full scope of peripherals and special facilities. What’s more, several brand-new packages were added to Ubuntu 22.04 to improve ease-of-use for advanced IBM z16 capabilities.

These synergies and out-of-the-box feature support drive significantly accelerated time-to-value for IBM z16 users running Ubuntu.

AI inferencing for real-time insights

IBM z16 integrates the new IBM Telum Processor to pair AI inferencing with secured and reliable high-volume transaction processing. This design will transform industries by enabling entirely new use cases. For instance, it will empower banks to analyse for fraud on an unprecedented scale.

Ubuntu 22.04 provides support for the Telum processor, alongside support for other IBM zSystems AI solutions, such as IBM Z Anomaly Analytics with Watson 5.1, and IBM Z Operational Log and Data Analytics 5.1.

Additionally, Ubuntu 22.04 includes a purpose-built package to streamline use of the new, low-level IBM Z Deep Neural Network Library (libzDNN), providing an intuitive interface for applications utilising the Neural Network Processing Assist Facility (NNPA).

This breadth of support compliments Ubuntu’s existing strength in the AI/ML field. The Charmed Operator Framework enables organisations to automate deployment of Kubernetes, Kubeflow, and other critical AI tools on IBM z16. Data scientists can also leverage Ubuntu throughout the entire machine learning lifecycle, from model development to training to deployment.  

As a result, running Ubuntu 22.04 on IBM z16 positions users to utilise the best of open-source AI tooling together with best-of-breed hardware, enhancing data science productivity and time-to-market. 

Modernise with hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud adoption is among the leading trends in enterprise IT, delivering superior economics, agility, and flexibility compared to public or private cloud exclusive strategies. Using logical partitions, a fraction of an IBM z16 can easily power the entire private side of an organisation’s hybrid cloud. 

Ubuntu is the leading operating system in the cloud. It is the most widely used OS across all major public clouds, as well as OpenStack deployments. Combining Ubuntu’s reliability and ease-of-use with the unparalleled performance of IBM z16 makes for the ideal hybrid cloud platform.

IBM and Canonical have worked together to ensure that users can easily provision an Ubuntu-based cloud on IBM z16 using either MAAS or IBM LinuxONE Bare Metal Servers.


IBM zSystems have always excelled in security, and IBM z16 is no exception. IBM z16 features familiar, upgraded capabilities from previous releases, such as Pervasive Encryption and Confidential Computing, to protect data at rest, in transit, and in use. 

Strong cryptography is only valuable if it is properly set up and configured. This is where Ubuntu’s ease-of-use shines, since users can install and exploit the IBM zSystems cryptography hardware with just two commands. 

The most important security development with IBM z16 is the expansion of quantum-safe cryptography. As quantum computing advances, there is a chance that future threats could evolve to overcome existing security measures. IBM z16 is the first platform to feature lattice-based cryptography designed to protect users against this potential risk. The quantum-safe technology requires operating-system support – which Ubuntu 22.04 delivers.

Ubuntu itself is inherently secure, thanks in large part to its fixed release cadence and long-term support. Canonical publishes a new LTS version of Ubuntu every two years, and each LTS release benefits from five years of regular security updates, increasing to ten years with Extended Security Maintenance (ESM).

Cost-effective support

Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure is Canonical’s comprehensive enterprise support subscription. Whereas most vendors price support entirely on a per-core basis, Canonical offers a per-drawer model. Given that IBM z16 includes up to 200 customer cores, the per-drawer pricing approach with Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure represents a uniquely cost-effective support option.

Ubuntu Server LTS 22.04 and IBM z16

Canonical is proud to be ready for the new IBM z16. Make the most out of your mainframe investment and begin maximising value straightaway with Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

To learn more about IBM z16, visit
Ubuntu 22.04 LTS will release on April 21st. Try out the beta now.

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